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West Baltimore's old Public School 103 will have new life as Thurgood Marshall Amenity Center

West Baltimore's old Public School 103 will have new life as Thurgood Marshall Amenity Center
West Baltimore's old Public School 103 will have new life as Thurgood Marshall Amenity Center 02:22

BALTIMORE - West Baltimore is on the brink of opening a new multi-million dollar community space.

The plan is to restore the historical Public School 103 on Division Street, which served as Thurgood Marshall's elementary school. The building has sat vacant in the Upton community for decades.

Come this summer, its new life will begin as the Thurgood Marshall Amenity Center.

"I have my historic consultants there," said Dr. Alvin Hathaway.

Hathaway has given hundreds of tours of the old Public School 103.

Senator Chris Van Hollen on Monday said it's time to make changes to the building.

"What you're doing here is taking the best of the past to help light the way to the future," Van Hollen said.

The building was a near-loss in 2016.

"That was a gut-punch to the community when that fire occurred," said Hathaway, the President/CEO of Beloved Community Services Corporation.

Baltimore City stabilized the former segregated elementary school after a fire.

"You're talking about all of the second floors was burned, the roof was burned, then all the water that was poured into the building," Hathaway said.

In the years since, a restoration, from top-to-bottom.

"You're going to walk into a building just like Thurgood Marshall walked into it in 1914," Hathaway said. "It looks the same."

Hathaway, and others, leaned into the school's most-decorated graduate, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

"Much of Thurgood Marshall's career was in New York and Washington D.C.," Hathaway said. "His Baltimore story, we have not told, but we're going to tell his Baltimore story."

There are still some finishing touches ahead, but the building will soon be the Thurgood Marshall Amenity Center.

"We do plan on having a video conferencing area on this side of the room," said Ty Oliver Taborn, from Career Communications Group Stemcityusa.

Taborn will be among the building's first tenants with Stemcityusa.

"This space was used to mold future leaders back in 1914 and it's going to be used to do the exact same thing in 2024," Taborn said.

Officials emphasize that the project is on time and on-budget, signaling the Upton neighborhood and its history matters.

"$14 million says that this community is worthy of investment," Hathaway said. "The second thing is the quality of our restoration sets a standard."

There will be a weeklong celebration leading up to the July 2 celebration, which will commemorate the late Justice Thurgood Marshall's 116th birthday. 

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